Robert Kramer Retrospective [1969]

People’s War

- 1969 / USA / English, Vietnamese / B&W / 40 min / 16mm

Directors, Photography, Editing, Sound: Robert Kramer, John Douglas, Norman Fruchter
Production: Newsreel
Source: MoMA

The film was shot in the People’s Republic of Vietnam in July–August, 1969. In the middle of the war, Newsreel was sent to North Vietnam. The delegation consisted of nine people representing the American anti-war movement, Robert Kramer, John Douglas and Norman Fruchter among them. Their objective was to try to understand and explain how a country whose economy was still so undeveloped could manage to resist in a war against the most militarily and technologically equipped army in the world. The North Vietnamese made up for their technological needs with their “spirit of the people.” But what does this expression mean to a Westerner or an American? More than twenty years later, during his second trip to Vietnam, Kramer would make the follow-up and “reverse angle” film Starting Place, then in 1997 he again visited Vietnam to shoot SayKomSa. Vietnam would become a subject running the length of his career, and this “Vietnam Trilogy” its milestones.

(Festival Cinema Giovani 1997)

• Robert Kramer Retrospective | FALN | In the Country | The Edge | Ice | People’s War | Milestones | Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal | Guns | A Great Day in France / Birth | As Fast as You Can | Fear | Doc’s Kingdom | Route One / USA | Dear Doc | Berlin 10/90 | Video Letters: Robert Kramer and Stephen Dwoskin | Leeward | Point de départ / Starting Place | Walk the Walk | The Coat | Ghosts of Electricity | SayKomSa | Cities of the Plain | Against Forgetting